Here’s the news on what’s been happening at management level within British Naturism.
Arrivals and Departures
We have been able to confirm Gary and Noreen Kennedy in the role of Non-Executive Director, a position they will occupy on a job-share basis.
On the debit side, Phil Hughes has confirmed that he has stepped down from the role of Finance Director, a decision forced on him for family reasons. Phil’s contribution to British Naturism during his time as finance director has been immense; he oversaw and streamlined many of the functions of the organisation as a limited company, making sure it operated in a highly competent and professional manner. His work culminated in concluding BN’s acquisition of Sunfolk. Phil had a deserved reputation for reliable, sound thinking and common sense, yet his experience and expertise did not stand in the way of his warmly welcoming new members of the EC and helping them establish themselves. The organisation owes a huge debt of gratitude to him.
Also stepping down from his role is Andy Wyman, who has for many years acted as coordinator for BN’s Holiday Advice service. Andy’s activities in this capacity led to his being awarded a Certificate of Merit in 2018, and we will miss his friendly, reassuring and highly organised approach to oversight of the service – as well as his good humour.
Elections to the Board are designed to take place in two- yearly cycles with not more than half of the Director posts falling vacant in any one year. In 2021, elections for the posts of President and Vice-chair (posts currently occupied by Mark Bass and Jon Williams respectively) and Finance Director are due. The role of Finance Director is currently vacant – the work has been ably covered for the last few months by Paul Martin, but Paul has made clear that he is not in a position to take on the role longer-term. British Naturism is therefore on the lookout for somebody to take on what is a key role within the organisation. Please do make contact if this is of interest to you.
Elections for three regional coordinator posts are also due: those for South-west, Yorkshire and East Midlands, and Eastern regions.
The elected posts represent just a small proportion of the many opportunities that exist for members to become more closely involved in the operation of BN. You can read more about volunteering on the BN website. The Board has been working closely with our volunteering officer, John Gelder, who has been working hard on creating the set of roles that are needed, and their descriptions and presenting them to members.
Work in various working parties has been continuing. The working group on British Naturism’s relationship with its clubs, led by Jon Williams, has completed its work. We’ll have more to say about this soon.
Following a motion adopted at the AGM, another working group led by Edwin Kilby, and including all the regional coordinators, has been looking at regional structures within British Naturism. This work remains at an early stage and a consultation about what, if any, reforms should be made is foreseen in due course.
After a difficult winter for everyone, we’re pushing ahead with our plans to re-open the Sunfolk site for summer 2021. We’re hoping to open the site (COVID permitting!) on 29 April and to remain open for day visits and overnight stays until early October.
You can book your visit now at www.sunfolk.bn.org.uk.
We’ve been doing some more work to maintain the site over the winter, but we’ve also been working on our longer-term development plan. We submitted a detailed proposal to the local authority for approval in late February and hope that this will be approved over the summer to allow us to start work on our ‘master plan’ when the site closes in October.
One of the larger undertakings completed this winter has been our involvement with the Law Commission’s review of Hate Crime law, with the aim of securing protection for Naturists under new legislation.
Unfortunately, the impact of COVID continues to be felt, and the usual programme of winter and early spring events, including those at Bournemouth and Blackpool, has had to be abandoned this year. The Gathering, planned for April at a new venue on the Isle of Bute, has been postponed to the autumn. Nudefest, our biggest live event, is planned for 5-12 July at Thorney Lakes in Somerset and at the time of writing was already 83% booked. It’s no surprise that tickets are selling quickly for this popular festival, albeit that at this stage capacity has been reduced due to the continuing necessity to plan for a Covid-secure event. You can book with confidence: if, unfortunately, the event has to be cancelled again you are guaranteed either a full refund or a rollover to next year – your choice.
The programme of online events continues and is as popular as ever. They are now divided into community events, which are free to British Naturism and international members, and fitness events which are open to everyone on payment of a small fee.
Forum Live debate and Ask the Executive
The regular Forum Live online event which takes place on Monday evenings at 7.30 has been consistently popular since its launch last spring. Usually, it features interviews with guests followed by an opportunity for questions from the floor, and this format will continue most Mondays. But we’ve now set aside one session each month for the Forum Live Debate, at which topics of interest to the Naturist community can be discussed by participants in greater depth. We also host a quarterly ‘Ask the Executive’ event during which you can fire questions at members of the Executive Committee.
The biennial meeting of the INF World Congress, already postponed from October last year to March, has been further postponed to October 2021 owing to the pandemic. It’s due to take place in Slovenia. The current office-holders including the President have had their terms extended on a “maintenance” basis. We very much hope the event can proceed in October.
The annual meeting of the European arm of the INF, due to be held in February in Belgrade, was cancelled. All being well, the Serbian federation will host this event next year.
The Northampton office
The sale of the Northampton office has been agreed and at the time of writing we are waiting for contracts to be exchanged.
Monthly meetings of the Executive Committee (EC)
For as long as any of us can remember, the EC has been meeting quarterly on Sundays. EC members have been travelling long distances to Northampton to meet for a day, in some cases necessitating staying overnight. The Directors had been experimenting with videoconferencing even before the pandemic struck. But the need to avoid physical contact during lockdown made using Zoom, or a similar platform, for EC meetings essential. Experience of holding lengthy video meetings soon highlighted the limitations, however – it’s easy to become tired, lose concentration and risk eye-strain.
So the EC has decided to experiment with a new pattern involving monthly meetings lasting two hours or less on weekday evenings. A few such meetings have been held, and feedback is that it is convenient for all participants and the business is covered efficiently. The probability is that the new pattern is here to stay - and promises to be greener and more convenient; at the same time reducing travel and hotel expenses. We hope it will also make it easier for new volunteers to take up active roles within the EC. The intention is that once it is safe to do so the EC will aim to meet physically once a year – the first such meeting is planned to be held at Sunfolk in October.
Annual report for 2020
This is the time of year when work needs to start on preparing the Annual Report for 2020. According to our bye-laws it must be published and presented three months ahead of the Annual General Meeting due to be held in October, so EC members and staff are working hard to produce their contributions in good time.